Razia Said is a singer, songwriter who has become environmental activist from Madagascar. Coming back in her native country after several years’ absence and noticed it was suffering from climate change without anything being done. She decided to act.
But let’s go back to the beginning. Razia Saïd was born in Madagascar in 1959. Raised by her grandparents in the northeast of the iusland, she grew up to the sound of salegy, a beat typical of Madagascar, but she was also immersed in French, British and American song.
In the early 1970s, she joined her mother, who had settled in Gabon. There she discovered the choirs of the nearby church, even though she had been raised in the Muslim faith. Wanting to take part, she converted to Catholicism! She got to know about the sub-region’s big-name artists – Fela Kuti, Pierre Akendengué, Papa Wemba and others.
After three years in Gabon, she left to pursue her studies in France, where she earned a doctorate in pharmacy and took guitar lessons. She began a career in Paris as a model, actess and musician. In 1987, she headed to New York and later lived on a regular basis in Bali, part of Indonesia. Her world tour did not end there: she also lived in Milan and Ibiza, working in fashion, film and refinement of her musical style.
With the support of her husband, a musician and producer, Razia Saïd recorded her first album. She was proud of having reached this stage but was not fully satisfied with the result. She then decided to record an album in the Malagasy language, with instruments from the island. She embarked on this adventure in 2006, first in Belgium and then in Madagascar, setting out to meet musicians from there. This was when she became conscious of the ravages due to climate change, which were endangering farmers. This gave rise several years later to Zebu Nation, an album marked by this awareness of the urgent state her country found itself in.
To alert people of the dramatic situation Madagascar could face, Razia organized an event, called Mifohaza Masoala (Wake Up Masoala), near the forest of the same name, in October 2011. Just before the concert, 20 000 trees were planted by the inhabitants. But this was not enough. With the same artists, she launched the Wake Up Madagascar Tour, a celebration of salegy, of its beats and chants, to raise collective awareness of the urgency of acting, in Madagascar and elsewhere.
Never short of energy, Razia put together Wake Up Madagascar 2 in 2014, including in particular two of the greatest Malagasy artists, Jaojoby and Rajery. And she continues to warn about the environmental situation in her country and beyond.
Her second album, Akory, released February 2015 under Wake Up Music Label is Bringing together some of Madagascar’s top musicians. This one was produced on four continents over the last four years and sees Razia diving even more deeply into her Malagasy roots. A journey that leads to question more … Akory … which means “What now?” That makes vibration to the sound of music that explores Environmental and political issues affecting Madagascar, her native island.